The President made a huge decision after the shocking dropping of Rt. Hon Amama Mbabazi; he finally replaced Gen. Kale Kayihura (KK) now former Inspector General of Police with Mr. Okoth Ochola a career police officer. However, what still runs in the minds of fellow Ugandans including me, will this change things? There are five areas to gather our thoughts around, and I hope the forces would have chance to take some of these concerns into consideration;
- Insecurity in the country
We recently lost our very own young Susan who was kidnapped and killed after, we all saw the failure of intelligence offices to work together in preventing what happened. Could this have been the spark the president needed having attracted a lot of media tension? Kampala and Uganda at large once peaceful now leaves us the wanainchi (citizens) in fear of either being gunned down, kidnapped or worse as witnessed in the unsolved murders in Entebbe and other parts of the country. Clearly, the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) revealed many dark secrets of police’s dirty games and involvement with criminals I will not mention at diplomatic, local and international drug level. Will the change of these leaders bring security?
- Indiscipline and wars between the forces
Of late, many have suffered due to the wars between the former police boss and minister of security. We saw revealing of classified information, security secret informants exposed, and indiscipline in senior police officers. Is the appointing of the new IGP come with the same powers the former one had? Because that is the only way, actual discipline will be restored. As for the UPDF, am still confident they can back off under orders and work as instructed, I am still not sure about police.
- Crime preventers
Wow! It was a good creation I must agree; what went wrong is to be blamed on failure to distinguish roles of the crime preventers and that of the police. These people just resorted to oppressing the citizens instead of actually helping them. I personally still think that neighbourhood-watch is one of the most important things and meant to be a role of every Uganda; but we need a new systems approach and better community policing approaches that do not end up in collaborating with the wrong people.
- Police welfare
Let us not forget, since KK became IGP after Gen Katumba Wamala, the welfare of Police has deteriorated ever since. This is evident from their housing, salary and even medical health insurance systems that have deteriorated from time memorial. Back then, children from police had access to relatively good education. Well, we can’t say the same for today. They all have to compete in paying for their children in equally expensive private education systems from down to higher education. No wonder most of them resort to taking small bribes and look for incentives in all places they can which leaves them labelled as corrupt.
- Patronage of the police force
Police as we know it should be a professional body designed to operate uniquely and ultimately to keep law and order. However, today it has been termed by many to be a partisan and political body that goes to an extent of even having ceremonies of events funded to support or campaign for particular candidates. Now this is not the mandate of police, police should just ensure the public does it’s things in an orderly way. Rights of Ugandans must be protected in accordance of the law and everybody deserves a fair hearing, if convicted they should not be tortured to favour a particular political person or not. Police’s response to emergencies must not be based on social, economic, political or spiritual classification but open to all wana-inchi (citizens). Will the new IGP ensure it is a professional body? Or will the president empower it to achieve this?
Feel free to raise more concerns, let us get our voices heard on this matter. As Ugandans, fundamental change is important especially in ways services are delivered to us, and security is one of the log enjoyed but now deprived and deteriorating sector.